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It is rare that you see a beauty like this one on the road or even in a show.  The first Chevy Camaro drove out of the manufacturing plant in Norwood, Ohio, on this day August 11, 1966.  Chevrolet started to sell the Camaro in 1966 but the cars were a 1967 Camaro September 21, 1966.  There is as much confusion about how the name Camaro was given to the car as there is about if Chevrolet ever made a 1966 model.  The best explanation I can give you is that the Camaro in some automotive periodicals before the official release, was code named “Panther,” the project designation for the Camaro was XP-836 and some early GM photos show the final Camaro body labeled “Chaparral.”  General Manager Elliot Estes, when publicly announcing the name, said “I went into a closet, shut the door and came out with the name.”  Chevrolet stated that the “Camaro” was named after the French word for “comrade, pal, or chum.” although some linguists said that it was actually Spanish for a type of shrimp, not exactly an awe aspiring name.  Luckily, the Camaro had the muscle to back it up.  Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers “What is a Camaro?”, and they said it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs”.  It is said that the Camaro was inspired by the success of the Ford Mustang, since the Mustang sold 100,000 units in the first six months, and almost half a million the first year, although GM had actually begun preliminary work on such a car as early as 1958, according to Pontiac Designer Bob Porter.  Anyway the name Camaro conveniently fit Chevrolet’s “C” naming structure that included Corvette, Chevy II, Corvair, and Chevelle.  The Camaro was based on the upcoming 1968 Chevy Nova platform, and featured a unibody structure.  The interior design was directed by George Angersbach, who had been involved in the design of the  Corvair, Corvette and the Chevy II, which became the Chevy Nova in 1968.  The Camaro was a hit with the public, sporting a base price of only $2,466 for a six-cylinder engine and three speed manual transmission.  The Camaro did come with more than 80 options, including a 327 cu. in. V-8 engine, the SS-350 Package with 350 cu. in. V8 with an available 396 cid big block producing 325bhp (L35) and later a 375bhp version and the RS Package which had numerous cosmetic changes, among others, which could bring the price of delivered cars to more than $3,500.  The popularity of the Camaro soared when a RS/SS Convertible with the 396 paced the 1967 Indianapolis 500 race.  In December 1966, Chevrolet released one of the most famous options of all time, option Z-28, that would totally change the industry’s view of a pony car.  The Z28 was tough to beat, it had a top speed of 140mph and numerous racing victories. Only 602 Z-28s were sold in 1967, making it a truly desirable collectable.
 

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